PP110 Lecture Notes - Modus Ponens, Ad Hominem, Begging

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Sound Argument
Must meet 2 conditions
1. Validity minimum requirement (refer to “What is an argument?” note)
2. True premises
o ***these are the rules to correct reasoning
Ex. All humans are mammals
o Dylan Thomas was a human being
o Thomas was a mammal
Ex. if you add Vodka to your life, your nights will be filled with excitement
o Implicit premise/assumption: nights filled with excitement are desirable
o Conclusion: you should add vodka to your life (i.e. purchase vodka)
o Is this a good argument? Why or why not?
No, because the premises are not true (premises are questionable)
In fact, it could make your life worse
Vodka is not the only way to add excitement to your life
Ex. If it rains, the ground is wet
o The ground is wet
o Conclusion: it is raining
o *this fallacy is called affirming the consequent
Not necessarily true because the wet ground could have been caused by other
possible factors
A>B; B is desirable; therefore A
Ex. if it rains, the ground is wet
o It is raining
o Conclusion: the ground is wet
o *not a fallacy, called modus ponens
Informal Fallacies of Argument
Ad hominem
o Irrelevant: Jack argues that we ought not to kill animals for own purposes, such as food,
because they suffer just like us. And, to cause unnecessary suffering is wrong. But Jack is
a nerdy philosophy student, so he can’t be right
not a good argument because the character/personality of Jack has nothing to
do with the validity or the truth of the premises and the conclusion or validity of
the argument
o Relevant: One exception, when there is a direct link between character/personality and
what is presented
Ex. John sees Bob kill Will. However, he is an alcoholic, has bad eye sight, and
hates bob therefore, unreliable
o Therefore, must identify context of argument
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Document Summary

Must meet 2 conditions: validity minimum requirement (refer to what is an argument? note, true premises, ***these are the rules to correct reasoning. All humans are mammals: dylan thomas was a human being, thomas was a mammal. Ex. if you add vodka to your life, your nights will be filled with excitement. Implicit premise/assumption: nights filled with excitement are desirable: conclusion: you should add vodka to your life (i. e. purchase vodka) No, because the premises are not true (premises are questionable) Vodka is not the only way to add excitement to your life. In fact, it could make your life worse. If it rains, the ground is wet: the ground is wet, conclusion: it is raining, *this fallacy is called affirming the consequent. Not necessarily true because the wet ground could have been caused by other possible factors. Ex. if it rains, the ground is wet. It is raining: conclusion: the ground is wet, *not a fallacy, called modus ponens.

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